On Tillis's coattails: Jason Saine wins ALEC award

For the second time in three years, North Carolina has the dishonor of having one of its own legislators recognized as the ALEC legislator of the year.

The American Legislative Exchange Council has named state Rep. Jason Saine its Lawmaker of the Year for 2014.

It's the second time in four years a North Carolina lawmaker has won the group's highest honor. Outgoing House Speaker Thom Tillis was ALEC's Lawmaker of the Year in 2011.

When ALEC comes to town: send your kids to any school you want

Like we don't already have major educational funding issues:

A state legislative subcommittee wants North Carolina families to be able to attend any public school in the state, allowing them to cross district lines without having to pay tuition or get the permission of the school system they’re leaving. “The question is about the methodology of giving the best education for kids at an individual level,” said Sen. Fletcher Hartsell, a Cabarrus County Republican and chairman of the subcommittee.

The draft bill has similar language to one proposed by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a largely private conservative group backed by major corporations. The group proposes model legislation for lawmakers to introduce across the country. Several bills were introduced in the General Assembly last year that matched or were similar to ALEC legislation.

I've got some methodology for you: how about we bring class sizes down to the maximum optimum of 18 students per teacher, get our teacher assistants back in the classrooms for younger children, pay the teachers more so they won't have to work a couple of extra jobs to pay their mortgage, and maybe set aside some funds for schoolbooks that aren't older than the Vice Principal?

NC Republicans marching to the ALEC drummer

Unfortunately, there are no cliffs handy for them to march off:

Conservatives are using the April 15 deadline to celebrate tax changes that North Carolina lawmakers argue will keep more money in family wallets and encourage job creation.

Gov. Pat McCrory and key legislators plan to join right-leaning policy groups Tuesday for a tax-filing day news conference in Raleigh. They plan to highlight a new annual report from the American Legislative Exchange Council to promote the tax overhaul law.

And now would be a really good time for some of our larger news outlets to do an in-depth evaluation of how ALEC operates, including how corporations take a direct hand in the crafting of legislation that is subsequently and stealthily inserted into our "public" policy system. In the absence of that explanation to the people, reporting on state government is woefully incomplete.

Moffitt "just trying to be helpful" with threats to Turner

With friends like this, you don't need enemies:

To hear Tim Moffitt tell it, he was only trying to be a good guy by asking his Democratic opponent to drop out of the race for the Asheville House seat Moffitt holds.

“We’re all rookies at some point. ... I could tell that nobody had really sat down with him and said, ‘Hey, do you really know what you’re getting involved with?’ ” the aspiring House speaker told Moffitt said he was simply trying to educate a political newcomer about what he could expect from the coming campaign, describing Buncombe County as a “toxic political environment.”

Riiight, because educating your political opponent is such a crucial step in a successful campaign. Not. The sad thing is, many folks on the Right will gobble up this excuse and then pat their bellies in satisfaction, once again picturing themselves on top of a moral high ground that doesn't exist.

Tillis, Moffitt on ALEC's Board of Directors

Take the time to read this recently acquired confidential document if you want to get a propaganda-free tutorial on the shenanigans of the American Legislative Exchange Council.

And while you're doing that, take the time to contemplate the implications of the Speaker of the NC House trying to sit in two chairs at once. It can't be done safely, and when they start to roll away from each other, which chair do you think he will choose?

When you've finished those tasks, take the time to explore this new website, which is a handy tool for tracking how the assortment of conservative "foundations" fund various pseudo-scientific bullshit-producing stink-tanks, including our very own John Locke Foundation. But keep a small trash can or other vomit receptacle handy, as you'll probably need it.

Democrat infiltrates ALEC

Although this story involves a Democratic Wisconsin legislator, liberals and progressives in NC need to pay close attention - afterall 50 members of the NC legislature are members and pushing ALEC's model bills.

Chris Taylor, elected in 2011, went to one of ALEC's high security gatherings and did a piece for with her observations. She was also interviewed at Raw Story.

NC is an ALEC-tatorship

Wow. This is breathtaking. Yeah, we knew that ALEC pulls lots of strings in The Old Backward State, and that Tillis was "ALEC legislator of the year" and left a session early so he could instead attend an ALEC meeting.

But the sheer number of NC House members with ALEC ties takes one's breath away:

ALEC and the shrinking Democracy in NC

Hijacking the ship of state:

ALEC’s role in North Carolina makes it a target for critics, particularly the think tank’s cozy relationship with business interests, who play a prominent, but mostly behind-the-scenes, role in crafting legislation alongside the roughly 50 North Carolina lawmakers listed as members.

Sweet Baby Jesus. 50 members? That's a fricking caucus, and a powerful one at that. And when said caucus is engaged in (what should be classified as) criminally dangerous behavior, it might be time to ask the (US) DOJ to step in:

ALEC and the NC GOP. It's a love affair.

ALEC, for those of you who don't already know, is the Koch brother funded American Legislative Exchange Council, a rather benign name for an insidious organization that uses corporate money and all expense paid retreats to indoctrinate and influence members of state and local governments. Virtually every Republican member of the NC General Assembly is a member of ALEC and many hold key positions on ALEC Task Forces.

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